The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection is completing more gas and oil drilling inspections across the state thanks to a new program that streamlines the process.
“It’s been a huge improvement,” said Deborah Klenotic, deputy communications director for DEP.
The project involves an iPad application used on-site by inspectors, and it falls under the DEP’s GO–TIME initiative. “GO–TIME” stands for the Governor’s Office of Transformation, Innovation, Management and Efficiency, according to a news release issued by DEP.
GO–TIME works to “modernize government operations in order to reduce costs and deliver better and faster services,” according to the website for Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf.
Inspectors started using the program in February for surface inspection, and the capabilities for subsurface inspections were introduced in September, Klenotic said.
“It’s enabled them to do 2,000 more surface inspections,” she said of 2017 inspections compared to 2016.
DEP oil and gas compliance inspections have increased in recent years; there were 10,566 in 2007, and almost 35,000 in 2016, according to the news release.
Before the GO–TIME program, drilling inspections were with paper forms and a clipboard. The inspectors would then have to drive to a regional DEP office to input the data, Klenotic said.
The new program allows them to log the data immediately, and it is sometimes available online that same day to both the public and other DEP officials.
PennDOT has been using a similar program for bridges, and they helped DEP modify the application for gas and oil inspections, she said, noting that DEP is interested in using for mining reports.
“We are planning to move it into other areas,” she said.
The program has sped up the inspection process and streamlined things, and it’s had positive feedback so far from groups including the Pennsylvania Environmental Defense Foundation and the Pennsylvania Environmental Council, Klenotic said.
For more information, visit www.dep.pa.gov